Lutfur Rahman hit his one hundredth day in office as Tower Hamlets’ executive mayor last Friday (28th January). In his time in office, Mr. Rahman
- has been forced by freedom of information requests into revealing a diary which shows him rarely getting into the Town Hall before lunch – despite being paid £65,000 a year to be Mayor.
- Despite this, Mr. Rahman has managed to book in regular sessions with the Council’s Head of Communications to “look at the proposed news list for East End Life”, the council’s propaganda newspaper.
- has been revealed in his diary also to have gone straight back to his old ways of meeting exclusively with core supporters and key activist groups. Those who have not been loyal seem to have been frozen out of the Mayor’s schedule.
- has gone on the BBC to attack the Government’s plans for councils to make public all their spending over £500 – despite a number of London councils voluntarily making their data available early. It was then revealed that in his previous term as leader, Mr. Rahman spent over £26,000 on celebrities such as Barbara Windsor for in-house council functions.
- Demanded at his first council meeting as Mayor to be paid £75,000 a year – nearly four times the average wage in the borough – despite the council’s Constitutional Working Party originally proposing a salary £10,000 lower. Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors all backed a cap of £65,000.
- In one of his first acts as Mayor, sent council officers to Covent Garden to pick up iPhones for himself and his deputy, Cllr. Ohid Ahmed, at a cost to the Council of £600 apiece. An FOI request then revealed that the Council’s Head of Communications had banned responses to a press query about the phones.
- took the best part of a month after his election to even appoint a Cabinet, leaving council departments with a combined budget of £1.3 billion rudderless.
- added numerous staff to his private office, including a Head of Mayor’s Office on a salary of £60,000, while selling off historic buildings such as Limehouse Library and the LEB building on Cambridge Heath Road, and proposing cuts to council services elsewhere in his planned budget.
- failed to turn up to represent the borough at the Remembrance Sunday service at Tower Hill.
Commenting on Lutfur Rahman’s term as executive mayor, Cllr Craig Aston (Conservative, Limehouse) said:
“To top off his first 100 chaotic days in office, Lutfur Rahman is planning in his budget to slash the funding for advice surgeries where residents can bring issues and problems to councillors, and planning to emasculate the team who deal with queries raised on behalf of local residents by councillors.”
“Perhaps he thinks that if he’s going to be ineffective standing up for people in Tower Hamlets everyone else will have to too."